My mom’s mom is 94 years old and lives alone in the mountains of Montana. The last time I visited her was when I was pregnant with Hunter. I’ve had the best of intentions to visit more frequently but it is so far out of the way, I’ve never been able to make it work out. There is a low budget airline that flies a non-stop flight right to Missoula so Steve insisted that I fly up for the weekend…alone…twist my arm…okay.

I worked it out with my parents to be there the same weekend, which also resulted in my sister and two brothers joining us as well. It’s interesting the shift of focus and attention when it is apparent that a loved one is nearing the end of their time on this earth. Knowing my time in Montana is limited and sporadic, I had a very specific agenda for this trip. I wanted to catalog (through photos) the environment of my grandma’s house, I wanted to spend time with my grandma and ask her questions, and I wanted to go through old photos/slides/journals and anything else that may be of interest. Based on this agenda, my trip was more than successful and enjoyable.

I spent a little bit of time each day taking photos that reminded me of my childhood visits and memories:

As I mentioned, my grandma lives on a mountain with a dirt road leading up to her house. Beautiful in fall, dangerous and scary when covered in snow!

This home, although added on to has been her home for 60+ years.

The view from her kitchen window is breathtaking and one of her most prized possessions.

A front porch swing that has been well loved. I remember as a kid visiting and spending the evening swinging as the sun slowly tucked behind the mountain. Just above the swing there’s a wind chime that clammers constantly, a sound that is burned in my memory.

The inside of the house hasn’t been updated since who knows when. In all my years, I can’t think of anything that has changed besides a few more pictures hanging around. This chair had countless kids spinning in circles until they were sick or until my grandpa caught us. We were always told we would break the chair. It’s been at least 25 years and it’s still going strong, even with all the spinning!

The annoying bird clock that my grandma loves. Every hour on the hour it makes the sound of a different bird. And what’s not to love about the lovely wallpaper behind it!

The treasured chalkboard that offered hours of entertainment during our visits. Never failing after each visit, we would write some great message to our grandparents with the kind note to everyone else not to erase it. Of course it was never there when we came back 6 months later, but there was always a message from someone else with the saying “do not erase”.

My grandpa played the accordion and graced us with his music each visit. And seated at the piano playing alongside him was my mom. My grandma loves music and always makes her musical requests known. I’ve spent much time playing songs for her at that piano.

This mantle just cracks me up. It’s hard to get the details of all that is placed upon the mantle, but there are some random things. Like the fox…I still have no idea what the significance of the fox is. There’s little trinkets that they been given over the years, all proudly displayed on the mantle.

Another clock that is still ticking which hangs directly above the desk. Before long it just might be back in style!

The house is a patchwork of flooring. Every room has a different color/style carpet. This is the carpet in one of the bedrooms and it makes my eyes dizzy just looking at it:

As I cataloged the home of my grandmother so many memories came flooding in from years of visiting her. The things in her house are unique to her and special to her. I came across several things that I had made over the years and given to her as gifts and I laughed thinking she still had them. They were bad and should’ve been tossed long ago, but yet they hung proudly on her walls. My grandma is a very simple lady with little need of material possessions but she sure loves a gift from the heart and no matter how ugly it is, it will most definitely be displayed in her home never to be forgotten.